If you didn’t know Yao Ming is a Chinese professional basketball player that is retired now but he used to play for the basketball team Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball Association and also the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association.
But Yao Ming is not relaxing on a beach and drinking beach drinks after retiring, Yao Mings mission is to help reduce the killing of sharks for their fins.
And that is an ambitious goal that Yao will fight for.
In the home country, China the popular shark fin soup has become so popular that it’s actually the largest market for shark fins.
There isn’t actually much meat in the shark fin itself but the popular shark dish was considered something of a status symbol, and due to China’s rising wealth and desire for luxury goods it became very popular.
Shocking number from national geographic says 1 out of 4 sharks is endangered.
It’s reported about 100 million sharks a year are killed which causes the number of sharks in our seas been steadily decreased for decades.
73% of those 100 million are used for the shark fin soup dish, and the shark’s fin is usually cut off and then left to die.
That’s why Yao Ming decided to team up with the conversation non-profit WildAid to raise awareness that the shark fin soup some people enjoy is bad news.
The slogan they campaign with is “When the buying stops, the killing can too,” which will raise awareness to decrease the demand for shark fins.
After the campaign a huge shift has happened, the campaign has been wildly successful and has been credited with cutting the number of sharks killed for their fins by 50 percent thanks to this campaign.
Yao Ming retirement from basketball does not mean sitting on a beach and chilling but being active in something he believes in.
Thanks to Yao’s campaign with the non-profit WildAid, the support for a shark fin soup ban has exploded in growth in China.
Until lately, many Chinese didn’t even know that the shark fin soup they ate actually came from sharks. Maybe because in Mandarin the translation is “fish wing soup”.
But now the survey shows that a rise in the ban shows that 91% support a ban on shark fin consumption nationwide. The ban hasn’t happened yet nationwide but there is clearly support on it, it’s already now banned to have shark fin soup at its official state dinners
And that’s a thumbs up from Mr.shark:
Now after the shark fin campaign’s achievement, Yao Ming looks for other areas to bring awareness-raising to power more members of the animal kingdom.
In a recent trip from Animal Planet’s “Saving Africa’s Giants” shows Ming recently visited Kenya in Africa to raise awareness about killing elephants and rhinos for their tusks and horn that have also been popular. That’s where his journey is now which is documented on the Emmy-nominated show.
This shows that the shark fin soup campaign’s success proves that knowledge and education is power.
Yao Ming has shown that you can use your celebrity to make some huge progress in areas where people are not just informed and to do awareness raising campaigns. Hopefully, his work in Kenya will just if not more successful to save the rhinos and elephants from the illegal hunting.
So let’s give a huge thanks to Yao Ming’s huge effort to raise awareness in the animal kingdom.